If, like me, you are hopelessly behind with your Xmas/Holiday shopping (because I have been writing articles about Xmas/Holiday shopping!) then here are a few little pointers to help you out over the next couple of days.
Rosewood Estates Wildflower Honey: $6 from Rosewood Estates, Chapters Indigo, and various stores around Toronto
I have to say that I really love my honey and am occasionally greedy for it. Niagara’s Rosewood Estates make some really great wines and mead. As much as I enjoy those, their Pinot Noirs are especially good, I am also a huge fan of their tasty local 100% raw and unpasteurized wildflower honey… and so this little squeezable fellow will be going into many a stocking this Xmas. Honey is so versatile and can be used for so many interesting applications around the kitchen/house… and it’s really good for you.
Tickets for New Years Eve at Richmond Station: $120 per head for 5 courses (plus cocktail and bubbles for the bells)
So you still have to find gifts AND you are not sure what you’ll be doing for New Year? Well, why not be smart about things and get some tickets for Richmond Station’s gastronomic jamboree at the turn of the year? We have had a gander at the menu for the evening and it looks really smashing. The crew at Richmond Station are celebrating their very first New Year so expect lots of frivolity and fun coupled with the best in farm-to-table cuisine. What with this spot being the talk of the town right now, spaces are sure to sell out fast, so get to their website asap. Perhaps we’ll see you there!
Estrella Damm “Inedit”,Barcelona, Spain: $18 for a 750ml bottle exclusively from Patria restaurant, 478 King Street West, Toronto
Now here is a treat for the foodster who also loves his/her beer. Designed in collaboration with famed Spanish Chef Ferran Adria (elBulli) and his team of Sommeliers, this barley and wheat malt beer was born from the need to find a suitable beverage to pair with some of the trickier food elements found in haute cuisine (oily, spicy, acidic foods etc.) and too be quite honest with you, often wine just isn’t the best match.
Available exclusively from Patria, tucked away on King West, I’m not quite sure how you get out of there without them opening the bottle, but I’ll leave that little issue up to you and the lovely staff. If you have the chance, order a bottle and have it served to you from a specially designed ice bucket and poured into an elegant wine glass. The perfect accompaniment to the establishment’s great selection of tapas.
Polyscience’s The Smoking Gun: $160 from Nella Cucina , 876 Bathurst Street, Toronto
This little handheld smoker is just the thing for the home cook who has everything and likes a bit of the old Modernist Cuisine. Smoke anything (meats, vegetables, butter, you name it!) in just a few minutes. A truly superb application of science in the kitchen. Our favourite experiment was shooting the smoke into the bottom of our barbecue as we grilled pork ribs… and it only took around two minutes. Utterly delicious.
“The Crow’s Nest” Small Seafood Tower: $39 at Rock Lobster, 110 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Is all that Xmas shopping getting you down? Then why not pop into a few of the little boutiques on Ossington, pick up one or two last-minute things and then rest your weary backside on a stool at Ossington’s new raw bar, Rock Lobster?
Not only is the food amazingly fresh and delicious, but it is also amazingly kind to your wallet/purse. This small seafood tower comprises eight shrimp, six oysters, and two snow crab clusters and we thought it was superb. Also, try out their Rock Lobster Roll (pictured) which comes with McClure’s Dill Pickle and Yukon Chips for $12. They also have a couple of pretty decent VQA wines from Vineland Estates on tap and are selling it for $1 an ounce, something that I wish we saw a lot more of in Hogtown.
Amarcord “Special Reserve” 100% Bottle Fermented Ale, Emilia Romagna, Italy: $TBD from NYC
Now this last one is a bit of a tease, but if you are lucky enough to have a loved one who will be in New York City over the coming days before the 25th then beg them to track down and pick up this very special bottle of beer for you. The beer itself is the work of our good friend Garrett Oliver from the Brooklyn Brewery, New York, but is made in Emilia Romagna, Italy in collaboration with Birra Amarcord. The beer pays homage to Italian poet, director and playwright Tonino Guerra, who had a hand in the bottle/label design. I stumbled upon it last month when I was attending Enologica in Faenza, and it was a welcome respite after tasting wine all day. It is an incredibly complex bottling that really does demand food. Unfortunately I have already exhausted my small supply!
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’s now off out to get his Xmas shopping done!